Posted in Montclair Tracts

Drake Drive – Montclair Highlands

In 1937 Frederick L. Confer designed a “modernistic’ (now art deco) home for Mr and Mrs George H. Everest and their two daughters. The Everest family had been living at 1760 Mountain Blvd prior to moving into their new Montclair Highlands home at 1831 Drake Drive.

The home was developed by Emge and Stockman and was built by James H. Anderson who has worked with the architect before.

Oakland Tribune Oct 11, 1936
Oakland Tribune Mar 1937
Oakland Tribune Mar 1937 – 1831 Drake Drive

The house has four bedrooms upstairs with two bath rooms. The lower floor has one bedroom with bathroom and a private entrance.

The view at sunset

Behold the amazing views from all upstairs bedrooms, dining room, living room and patio. The large corner lot also a large yard

The house is completed in June 1937

Oakland Tribune June 1937

The House has been on the market many times since 1937.

Oakland Tribune 1946
Oakland Tribune – 1949

1955 – it listed for $24,500

Oakland Tribune 1955

In 1969 it listed for $46,500

Oakland Tribune 1969

In March of 2019 it is listed for sale at $1,695,000.

More on 1831 Drake Drive

The End

Posted in Model/Display Homes, Montclair Tracts

Style House – Piedmont Pines

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__May_26__1935_

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__May_19__1935_Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 8.29.14 PM

The Tribune Jackson Style House – 5739 Chelton Drive

The “Style House” opened to the public in April of 1935. Over 1500 visitors passed through the home that first weekend.

The home was designed by local architect Frederick L. Confer with James H. Anderson and the builder was James Armstrong.

The agents for the house were Mitchell & Austin with Harry Stockman the agent in charge.

The house was completely furnished by the Jackson Furniture Company.

Oakland Tribune April 1935
Oakland Tribune April 07, 1935

The View then and Now

Oakland Tribune March 1935
From Google Maps

Award Winning

The house is a modified Regency type design. It won an award for the distinguished “house of seven rooms or less” in the fourth Biennial Exhibition of American Architects. The house has also been called Monterey Style. Color is used abundantly in the house, the exterior is painted whited with mustard color shutters.

Oakland Tribune May 1935

Unique Home and Cozy Interior

The living room with vaulted ceiling has French doors to the delightful front patio as well as the rear deck with SF and Bay views.

The floor plan has a full bath and generous bedroom on the main level with French doors to the patio. There are two more large rooms up, one with a deck for enjoying the views! The lower features a bedroom which would be ideal for a family/rumpus room, half bath, a generous laundry/craft room with work station and storage area. Two car garage.

Oakland Tribune May 1935

On opening day a local Ford Dealer had a brand new Ford V8 parked outside the house.

Oakland Mar 31, 1935
Oakland Mar 31, 1935

Style house in 2018 – Realtor.com

Oakland Tribune 1944
Oakland Tribune 1955
Oakland Tribune 1969

More on the Style House –

The End

Posted in History, Oakland

Homes near Fruitvale…

Sometime ago I found this picture on the Oakland History Room online site.

Homes near Fruitvale Avenue and Hopkins Street (later MacArthur Boulevard) in the Dimond district of Oakland, California. A large vegetable garden dominates the foreground and Higgins Church on Hopkins Street is in view towards the back. DATE: [circa 1905] Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room.

I love to try and figure out the who, what and where. I would rather try to figure it out all by myself before asking for help. That is the fun part for me. Sometimes it is very easy. Other times it is not.

The biggest clue to this photo was the Higgins Church on Hopkins which is now MacArthur Blvd. I started there.

I started looking into the Higgins Church. The church in 1898 was located near Fruitvale Ave and Hopkins in the old Fruitvale School building. It had some connection to the Fred Finch Orphanage

Oakland Tribune Mar 1896
Oakland Tribune Mar 1896

In 1907 the laid the corner stone for a new church at the corner of School St and Boston. The church was renamed Fruitvale ME Church. Joaquin Miller read a poem at the ground breaking. The church building was dedicated in 1908. The church building is still there with a few additions or modifications and is located at 3111 Boston. It now called the First Samoan Congregation Christian Church

Oakland Tribune May 1907
Oakland Tribune 1907
San Francisco Call July 1908

A couple days ago I found a Knave article “Memories linger for Dimond District Pioneers” in the Oakland Tribune November 1970 the 2nd page of the article included this same picture with some new clues.

Oakland Tribune Nov 1970

I now have clues for the house and a different church. So off I went to find out more.

The house is located at 3231 Boston Ave at Harold St
The church is located at 2464 Palmetto St. While it is no longer a church I believe this is the same building. See below
From Google maps – 3231 Boston Ave today
From Goggle maps -2460 Palmetto – today

I think the location has been solved. I thought the house was moved or demolished due to building the freeway and it almost was. I am so glad it is still there.

From Google maps – The area today– Thanks Morgan!

The End

Posted in Business, Early Montclair, History, People

The First Store in Montclair

Recently someone asked about when 7-Eleven came to Montclair. Which was about 1958.

I thought I would go back a little farther and tell you about the first store in Montclair.

A little history…

In 1925 the land that 7-Eleven is now on was bought by a man named Otto Schuneman. Mr. Schuneman then built a store. His store was a combination fountain and grocery store and a service station in front.

From 1935

The original building is still standing behind the 7-11 store.

Showing the location of the first store

I haven’t been able to find any photos of the store or the station.

Funk’s Grocery – 1930-1940

In March of 1930, Davis L. Funk leased the store from Schuneman and bought out his remaining stock. Mr. Funk had owned a couple other stores in Oakland.

He called his store Funk’s Grocery.

The Funk family lived at 5677 Thornhill in the mid to late 30s to early 40s.

In the early 1960s the Montclair Presbyterian Church next door bought the house from the owners.

My ex-husband and I worked for the church from 1983- 1987 and we got to live in the house.

This house, grocery store and the Thorn Road Bible School (now Montclair Presbyterian) were all built in 1925-27.

Note – Montclair Presbyterian Church (MPC) was formed in March of 1930 as was the Montclair Library http://oaklandlibrary.org/events/montclair-branch/come-celebrate-montclair-librarys-85th-anniversary-us .

1941 Directory for Montclair

Montclair Food Center 1940-1957

In 1940 Funk took on a partner his son-law Malcom “Scotty” Hodge the husband of his daughter Lenore and the store was re-named the Montclair Food Center.

Funk and Hodge ran the store together until Funk died in 1949 his home on Grisborne Avenue, behind the store.

Oakland Tribune 1949

Hodge and his wife continued on after that until 1957 when they couldn’t work out a new lease with the owner Otto Schuneman. My thought is…it was because he could make more money leasing it to Speedee Mart

Montclarion 1957
Montclarion 1957

When the store closed down in 1957 it was the last one Montclair that had maintained a credit and delivery service. Montclair Food Center was more than just a store to many of the customers of 20 years or more.

By 1957 Montclair was also changing. Payless Grocery Store (soon to be Luckys) and LaSalle Avenue Market were located in the business district and soon a new Safeway would be built.

Speedee Mart 1958-1966?

In about 1958 the store was leased by Speedee Mart Corporation.

In 1964 the parent company of the 7-Eleven Stores bought all the Speedee Mart franchises in California.

They began slowly changing the name to 7-Eleven (7-11)

The End

Posted in History, West Oakland

A Forgotten Tunnel…

I recently found an article from 1961 about the discovery of an underground tunnel on what was the MacDermont Mansion in West Oakland. This is what I discovered looking into the mansion. 

MacDermot MansionOakland Local wiki

Forgotten Tunnel Revives Dimming Memories


In 1961 the Peralta Villa a 20-year-old WWII housing unit was being demolished to make room for new low rent apartments. They were located in the area bounded by 7th, 8th, Center and Cypress Streets. Oakland Tribune March 23, 1961

While clearing the land workman discovered a concrete-lined tunnel long forgotten and never recorded on the city records.

Was it a WWII bomb shelter? Did rum runners use it during prohibition?

The guesses proved to be wrong but an interesting story.

The Tunnel

The tunnel (built between 1905 -1910) was the work of Louis MacDermot the son of a prominent early Oakland family who owned the land. Their home (1407 8th St) was built sometime before 1876 (some say it could have been the French consul). Charles F. MacDermont’s name appears on title records as early as 1870.  The home was a showplace with landscaped grounds covering the entire block.   In the 1920s the city proposed buying the site for a park, but the plan fell through. The home stood empty and decaying behind a wooden fence until 1941 when it was razed to make way for the war-time housing. The tunnel went undetected then.

t9uc1b39gr2e1mdc
The MacDermont Property 1407 8th Street Oakland CA

The concrete-lined tunnel ran across the stable yards from the brick boiler room near the family home to a machine shop. It was about 3 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet high. There were L-shaped hooks with oval rollers embedded on the sides.  Conductors for electrical wire had been installed on the ceiling.  The hooks apparently held steam lines which heat the machine shop.

Partial View of the Machine Shop at 1407 8th Street, Oakland
Partial View of the Machine Shop at 1407 8th Street, Oakland – ppie100.org

The man who built Railroads – the small ones

louis 1901
Louis MacDermot- 1901 -From the ppie.org

Railroad buffs might know the name Louis MacDermot. He built miniature railroads. He and his mechanics designed locomotives, freight cars, and coaches in great detail.

carraig
From the ppie100.org

In 1913, he was awarded the concession to build and operate an intramural railway at the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) due to open in February 1915. He started construction in his backyard.  The first completed locomotive was the work engine No. 1500, an 0-6-0T type.

Engine No 1500 – ready to be moved

Swanton Pacific Railroad Society Newsletter January 2012

The Overfair Railway, that ran along the Marina between Fort Mason and the Presidio. A 10 cent fare provided transportation to the Polo Field, State / Foreign buildings, California Building, Exhibit Palaces, Yacht Harbor, and The Zone.

Altoona_Tribune_Wed__Mar_10__1915_
March 1915

Overfair Railway on the Marina –  San Francisco Bay -1915 –SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Overfair Railway on the Marina –  San Francisco Bay -1915 –SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY.

The Decline of the MacDermot Estate

After the fair, MacDermot became a recluse and stayed on the deteriorating grounds of the family’s Oakland mansion.

Old house of Chas. McDermott N. E. corner 7th and Center Sts. Oakland.
Showing one of the old cars used in the
Panama Pacific World’s Fair at San Francisco in 1915
Jesse Brown Cook Collection
Bancroft Library

Unfortunately, this fate was also shared by the Overfair Railway wooden passenger and freight cars.  The locomotives had the luxury of spending their “retirement” in sheds. The others did not fare so well.

MacDermont Home C 1930
MacDermot  Estate c 1940 -Swanton Pacific Railroad

Another photo of the MacDermot home with one of cars in the yard – OMCA

Swanton Pacific Railroad Society Newsletter January 2012

In 1941 he agreed to build the “The Mountain Lion Railway” for the Oakland Zoo. He moved three engines and the twelve best passenger cars to the Alameda County Zoological Gardens (today’s Oakland Zoo).  Beginning on August 1, 1941, with two cars running behind a forlorn No. 1913, the operation started.  The faithful Pacific had lost both its boiler jacket and its leading truck, relegating No. 1913 to the status of a 0-6-2.  The Overfair equipment had substantially deteriorated and MacDermot increasingly erratic behavior soon forced the Zoo’s management to eject the railway.  Please see – Swanton Pacific Railroad Society Newsletter January 2008

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Nov_10__1940_
Oakland Tribune November 11, 1940
MacDermot and Sid Snow 1941
Oakland Tribune 1941

Louis MacDermot with Sid Snow – 1941 from the  Swanton Pacific Railroad Society Newsletter – February 2004

Moving Day 1940 or 1941 and Overfair train coming up the grade at the Oakland Zoo with Sid Snow’s home in the background – (which I believe is from the Talbot Estate and not the Durant Estate as noted) from the  Swanton Pacific Railroad Society Newsletter December 2007

Lost Dream

Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jan_25__1959_.jpg
Oakland Tribune Jan 1959
Oakland_Tribune_Tue__Aug_27__1968_
Oakland Tribune 1968
Oakland_Tribune_Sun__Jan_5__1969_
Oakland Tribune 1969

The railroad lives on

Swanton Pacific Railroad in Davenport CA

The Swanton Pacific Railroad serves as an operational memorial to Al Smith who acquired and relocated the trains to the Swanton Pacific Ranch. The rolling stock consists of three one-third scale Pacific-type steam locomotives that were built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a diesel switcher locomotive and a variety of passenger and maintenance railcars.

 Cal Poly’s Live Steam Railroad –  Swanton Pacific Railroad

For more on the railroad – 

The End